Saturday, September 29, 2012

Well, This is Certainly a Reversal

In brief moments of pause when I haven't been obsessively playing LittleBigPlanet Vita, finding time to spend on playing the excellent Sleeping Dogs, watching something on YouTube or throwing hours of my life at a time into watching episodes of Burn Notice (which is sooooo good you guys) through Netflix, my free time has been devoted to very very slowly progressing through Hero of Leaf Valley still, as I would like to see at least an entire playthrough through before I call it done.  This has been difficult however, which I think is hilarious, since I have reached the point in the game where I have effectively streamlined everything and am set to earn a good few thousand Gs in a single day.  I have pretty much bought everything there is to offer, tool upgrades, appliance upgrades, house add-ons, farm add-ons, you name it and I have it, so long as it's available to me.  So I basically just have to play through the day dicking about however I wish to get through it so I can then do the next day.

I think that's where the issue is, however, as there's really nothing else to do except follow the routine to a T.  Leave the house and pick up the dog, put him down, go to the food bowl, whistle for him, tell him to sit with the ocarina and give him food in the dish.  Go to the chicken coop, fill the troughs, pick everybody up and get their eggs.  Head to the stables, fill the troughs, talk to the horse and cows, brush the horse and cows, milk the cows.  Harvest and rice that has grown, water it all, fill the watering can.  Go back in the house, make cheese with the milk (at this point, I get two large milks and three smalls which means three things of cheese), make egg and rice dish if there's any rice, otherwise throw eggs in the fridge.  Go to the woodcutter's, talk to Gwen and give her a Very Berry, wait for Woody to go outside and talk to him to see if I can cut lumber.  Afterwards, go to the mine and mine the available caves using reference pictures for single-strike mines because I am a dirty cheater.  Sell ore at woodcutters.  Sell Cheese (and rice dish if any) at Grocery Store.

That list of things to do is the exact routine I end up following to start every Hero of Leaf Valley day.  It is formulaic and it only manages to get me to about 1 PM Harvest Moon time which means the rest of my day is playtime, but....there's really nothing else to do besides talk to folks.  I've effectively cut out all the fat of the game, you could say, in that I am not wasting time collecting things to sell so I can buy food to restore part of my stress/fatigue bars, nor do I have to do a lot to get to where I -would- need to, aside from when I cut trees.  With my tools fully upgraded as well as almost all the Power Berries in the game, I can do...quite a lot before getting fatigued and the house add-on has a Bathroom that allows you to take a bath and get a free boost for both anyway!  About the only thing I can do when I'm done with my routine, again outside of just milling about and talking to everybody, is going off to fish which....serves no real purpose unless I want to feed my dog some fish, because I do believe I have all the Fish recipes already and if I don't, well, who cares?  Certainly not I.

If anything, I suppose it speaks to some pacing issues that the game might have, and, in truth, perhaps some content issues as well.  Most other Harvest Moon games tend to offer a broader range of things over a longer period of time (generally you can buy something to add-on to your house with once a week, and only one thing) which allows them to piecemeal out to you a kitchen and such.  Still, it just feels like there should be more by this point, and not what I have done which is basically seen and conquered most everything.  Doing some peeking in guides, I've learned that there is another slew of upgrades available in the third year, but that's....well, a year and a season away of nothing in between besides gathering and getting prepared, I suppose.  I already have 51 excess lumber, and I think one project maybe requires 100 pieces, but I doubt it.  My point being that I will probably have a good bit, if not all of the lumber stocked up for said upgrades well before time.  Though I'm not sure what else I could hope for, and I certainly would not have hoped for a sort of arbitrary restriction keeping me from getting what I have before now either.  Since that just would have been padding.

I'm not really sure what to think.  Certainly, I've been in this position before in Harvest Moon games, where I have everything streamlined, but it was always because there was just something else on the horizon.  While that technically holds true for Hero of Leaf Valley, in that all of Year 3's offerings await me (including being able to marry Gwen), it's....not quite enough.  I want something a little more immediate or close enough to it.  The closest goal I have is winning the Horse Race towards the end of Fall which I am pretty confident that I will be able to do, since I have my horse all the way up to max affection which means he can apparently 'run like the wind'.  I believe that has something to do with one of the many endings the game has to offer in which you have done something amazing to save the Valley that wasn't outright buying it, and that's fairly cool enough for me, but there's just the whole getting to that point (since I assume the endings come into play at the end of year 2 or 3) that has become difficult.  With any luck, I'll soldier through it, however, as I still do quite like the game, which I'm surprised by.

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